Answering surveys is probably not something you associate with the following words – exciting, enjoyable and stimulating. HeyCrowd is hoping to change that by creating a more user friendly, fun and interesting approach to answering surveys which allows organizations to create and publish longer surveys and questionnaires.
In my interview with the co-founder, Matthieu Rouif, he shares his story since embarking on the entrepreneurial journey and advices to budding entrepreneurs.
Hi Matthieu, Thanks for doing this. How are you doing today?
Doing great, thanks
Can you give us some background information about yourself?
I am passionate about innovation and currently the co-founder of HeyCrowd, a start-up reinventing surveys.
I attended the Ecole Polytechnique majoring in Economics and Physics and moved to Stanford to complete a master in Materials Science. At Stanford, experimenting with startup ideas, I learnt to program on iPhone and attended Stanford Ignite at the Business School.
Tell me how you initially got into business?
Moving back to France, I started my first company, As-App, creating the first mobile apps for ski resorts which became used by 50+ ski resorts across Europe and the U.S. After selling the apps to Lumiplan, I began talking with other entrepreneurs on the next thing to do, and then finally meeting Emmanuel Bellity who was a math and statistics expert and wanted to bring surveys to smartphone and since then Heycrowd has been my focus.
How did the idea for HeyCrowd come about?
Emmanuel Bellity, my cofounder, got the idea. He wanted to leverage his knowledge of statistics and math in a field that was going to be disrupted by mobile devices.
Tell me about the early days, what was the hardest part of starting the business?
The hardest part was to quit the team I was working with before and leave the comfort of a paid job.
What is HeyCrowd and what are you trying to solve with it?
HeyCrowd is addressing the fact that most people love to read articles with good statistics but hate to answer survey on the streets or on the phone. We solve this problem by making survey more user-friendly, where results appear instantly.
How have you been able to fund it?
We put in some money from our previous jobs and then raised money with angels.
How were you able to convince such amazing investors to invest in your company?
Since the beginning we have had impressive user statistics. These stats combined with the founding team of two engineers, doers from Columbia and Stanford convinced our investors.
What advices can you give to startup founders looking to raise money for their companies?
At this stage, the team is clearly the most important thing, you have to show you are a good match and that you are doers- you can execute. Showing signs of tractions helps a lot.
About the first few months, how excited were you, tell us about how those months felt, what happened?
It’s really exciting to wake up every morning to be able to work on your product and satisfy user. It’s the best job in the world
How did you initially get traction?
We didn’t predict the traction, actually we were going for a business tool but when we saw how we got addicted and our beta users got addicted we decided to go with a consumer product.
What are the most crucial things that you have done to grow your business?
Listen to your users, go in the field to see how and why they use the app and be creative about customer acquisition channel.
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
People commenting how much they love HeyCrowd is the best part of it. Having people send you money to get premium features is also a great highlight.
What should we be expecting from yourself and HeyCrowd for next year?
Surveys on the web haven’t change much in ten years, we really want to make it fun and interesting to answer surveys.
People are definitely going to spend more time answering survey with HeyCrowd. We also have a gold mine of data, hundreds of millions of opinion; we want to play with it to give insight on many subjects.
Lastly, what three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
You really have to find a good cofounder you get on well with. It’s the most important part.
The reward is the journey but it’s a real emotional roller coaster, you better be prepared.
Everything takes a least twice the amount of time you had foreseen.